Hamilton chambers of commerce create economic recovery group to help local businesses

The city of Hamilton and its three chambers of commerce have established an “economic recovery working group” and website to help local businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comes as many businesses have been forced to close or suspend operations, as the Ontario government has ordered the closure of restaurants, bars, theatres, libraries, child-care centres, and recreation programs until at least March 31.

While some restaurants are still offering takeout, many have shut down for the time being. Other businesses are seeing a significant decrease in the number of customers due to social-distancing and self-isolation practices promoted as ways to reduce the spread of the virus.

Keanin Loomis, president and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, says it’s about helping businesses manage during uncertain times.

“We serve 1,050 members and we’re only as healthy as they are, and we’re feeling it as well,” Loomis told Global News Radio 900 CHML’s Bill Kelly Show. “We know that one thing that we can certainly do is gather information.”

“There’s so much information coming from so many sources that we decided the first thing we needed to do was aggregate that all and put it in one place.”

That one place is hamiltonchamber.ca/COVID-19, where business owners can access resources including government assistance, small business support, export and trade information, employment and legal information, transportation updates, and information about the virus itself.

Loomis said they’re also pulling together local business leaders to discuss what happens after the pandemic is over.

“Obviously we’re in the middle of a public health emergency at this point in time, but I think at some point, within the next couple months, we’re going to have to talk about the best ways of recovering as a community.”

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